James D. and I have been doing this monthly top ten lists where we alternate picking bands and list our renditions of that band’s top ten list of songs. Last month was a killer trying to pin down my top ten KISS songs. As if that was not hard enough, I decided to make it even harder and pick my top ten list of my favorite band of all time – Judas Priest. Check out James’ list here.
Since my childhood, Priest has been a staple of my life. Through the early days of their lifelong classics through the early eighties and the change in sound, through the late eighties in their shift towards another type of sounds, to the breakup and the reunion. I have always been there awaiting more – for better or worse.
As with last month’s list, I am doing this quickly and not editing it. I am sure that this list could change at any time and I am fine with that.
10. A Touch of Evil
Painkiller was an amazing album. After what some people called a travesty (I. E. Turbo and Ram it Down – I was cool with them though), Priest returned with Painkiller which was their best album in years. It was an amazing time in their careers, but at the same time, became the hardest time in their life. Unbeknownst to us and them, the breakup would happen shortly after the Painkiller tour. A Touch of Evil is one of many great songs on this classic album.
9. Love Bites
From the opening, frightening bass lines to the killer verses and even better riffs, Love Bites is one of my favorite songs that Priest even laid down. I used to listen the hell out of this one.
8. Screaming for Vengeance
Classic album and even more classic song. While the riffs are endless and amazing, the standout is Rob’s shrieking vocals on this one. Some great lead work on here too.
7. The Sentinel
Another standout with Rob on vocals. Check out the Priest… Live version to hear Rob get even higher on vocals. No one can top Priest version of The Sentinel, but many have tried. The switch-off on leads during the solo is amazing.
6. Devil’s Child
Probably another one that people are scratching their heads at, but the chorus is frighteningly good. Rob is at his best on this one. One of the greatest closeouts to any album ever.
5. One Shot at Glory
Okay, so this is a headscratcher to most I am sure. Rob’s amazing voice simply shines on this one. He hits some notes on this one that still make me shiver.
4. Victim of Changes
Classic, classic Priest. I am quite surprised that this is the first 70s Priest song on this list. I was sure that the list would consist of 70’s Priest with a few 80’s tracks thrown in. So far, the 80s are dominating. What can you really say about this song? The main riff is amazing (and fun as hell to play). It is one of Priest’s longest tracks and definitely one of their most classic songs.
An amazing opening. Once the guitar hits, you know that you are in for something special. Rob is in top form and the guitars are amazing. Glenn and KK show why they are possibly the best guitar duo ever.
2. Beyond the Realms of Death
Quite possibly, Beyond the Realms of Death was the first, true power ballad ever. Everything about this track is simply astounding. The guitar solos are killer and just never seem to end. The song is pure power.
1. Hell Bent for Leather
First off, if you ever saw the live version that they did on the Turbo tour, you would completely understand why this is number one on my list. I like the album version, but the version from ’86 is the band at their best. Also, who does not love Rob coming out on the motorcycle. These days, the motorcycle is more associated with Painkiller, but in the old days, it came out for Hell Bent for Leather.
Here are the honorable mentions.
Listen to the extended version on Unleashed in the East. The opening is classic. Genocide relies on the powerful riffs and never lets you down.
Saints in Hell
Still love this one. It is probably one of the lesser-known songs on this list, but one of the coolest to play and Rob showing his potential even back in the 70s.
Just an evil song. Rob singing the chorus is downright frightening That part is well worth the mention of this song, and the opening riffs just seals the deal.
You Don’t Have to Be Old (to Be Wise)
Another one from the classic British Steel. Another fun track to play and Priest just being Priest.
Yet another one from British Steel. For some reason, I have only been turned onto this one in the last few years. I never full appreciated this song back in the 80s, and I now see the error of my ways.
If you even heard this live in the 80s, you would know exactly what I mean. Rob’s vocals during the break are amazing and is why this song is on this list.
Riding on the Wind
Amazing riffwork and even better vocals. This one is short and sweet.
Rock Hard Ride Free
I have always been a sucker for this one. One of the greatest verse structures ever recorded and some really great lead work.
Once again, this list was fun as hell to do and I cannot wait to see who we do next.